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Old 03-13-2014, 09:44 AM   #91
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Normandy

The next morning, June 6, 2013, I buzzed up the road to the Normandy American Cemetery and noticed there was a new museum being built near the entrance….work was still being done. I have not gone to see what is going on inside yet, but eventually….







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Old 03-13-2014, 09:46 AM   #92
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:58 AM   #93
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Colleville-sur-Mer, France



Here I was, June 6, 2013, I was at the American cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, France. Could things be any better for me today? I think not. I usually like to visit these places when there is no one around, when I can have it all to myself and experience a truly peaceful time there, I do not know how to explain it. I usually am the only one there when I go to such a place. Today was to be different, the place was, of course, packed with people who had come to pay the respects and remember the fallen. It offered a different kind of photographic opportunity. A different kind of feel. Going to these places can be an emotional experience and I hope the pics share that feeling just a bit for those that get to see them.











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Old 03-13-2014, 10:14 AM   #94
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Old 03-13-2014, 11:08 AM   #95
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:52 PM   #96
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:57 PM   #97
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:40 PM   #98
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:51 AM   #99
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What has a been a huge disappointment for me this past year is watching the great number of the veterans of our greatest generation passing on. As a child I was surrounded by veterans of World War II. and got to hear their stories, experiences and have a little window into the personal experiences of some of these people. I could never get enough of it. I still love to have the chance to meet these people, but the opportunities are getting harder to find as they are disappearing at such a high rate now. I try and follow a few of these vets on FaceBook even, and when I heard one of them was going to be at Saint Marie du Mont at the Occupation Museum, I decided I would take the chance to get to shake the guys hand and thank him for jumping into France 69 years previous. Who is this 92 year old hero….it is James H. "Pee Wee" Martin, 101st Airborne Division, 506th Parachute Infantry, 3rd Battalion Regiment, G Company. Jim Martin jumped into France over Utah Beach the night prior to D-Day and fought for thirty-three days in the Normandy campaign. In September, 1944 he participated in the invasion of Holland ("Operation Market Garden") and was one of the defenders of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. The 101st Airborne Division finished their part of the war by securing Berchtesgaden, Germany. I had only 5 minutes to speak with him, and never managed to get a picture with him, but it was an honor to get to shake his hand and speak with him.





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Old 03-14-2014, 09:47 AM   #100
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Sainte Marie Du Mont has always stuck out in my mind since the first time I went to go visit back in the 1980’s. It was a my very first time in Normandy, and I knew a lot less about the place back then. But there were things that stuck out for me as I saw the battle damage done to the village and biggest one was inside the church. The Gisant de Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux is a statue in a glass case, and there is a bullet hole in the glass. It stuck in my mind.














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Old 03-14-2014, 10:08 AM   #101
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:19 AM   #102
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Hello Jmead11,
par hazard i stumbled over your pics.
As a young german, bor 1964, the war always was concerning us.
My parents had to leave their Heimat during the war and father for example stopped two years ago with his work. As a butcher, with about eightie plus.
He went to war and returned with a five years stop in Russia.
They had to beginn in the 1950 and now he found the internet. His dream is, to recover the battlefields where he survived.
On the other hand, had a girlfriend and her grandfather could show us his trenches near Verdun.
Why do i tell you this?, cause the amount off eye wittnesses goes to zero
and a lot more will vanish.
Thank you for the pictures, first, this young american in field gear saluting at the grave. It shows how many you did to free Europe, great photo.

Than i read two books, the one from Joseph Boyden, " Three day Road"
and John dos Passos, " Three soldiers" from 1921.
We live near the black forset and the vosges were we discovered a WW I battlefield, http://www.linge1915.com/de/startseite/
our son did a work on it for school.
We were concerned about the brutality and were more concerned, when our neighbour lady, (i make her garden, from time to time), it was her favoured holiday ressort, after the war, and her father was stationed about three years and survived.
My parents anchestores came from the vosges, in 1780, went to former Jugoslavia and fleed 1944/45.
When i visit the vosges, i find many with my seldom name, but i don`t mean Hans.
Want to show, how small the space is, between now and the past.

Two years ago, we where on a visit in a sidecarmeeting, 20 miles from Bastogne, a one day trip from our hometown, the past is around the edge.
Greetings from Hans
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:54 AM   #103
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I am glad you enjoyed the photographs. I think some of my best shots ever will be included in this report. It is one of my biggest regrets that I have not had the opportunity to meet even more of these vets of World War II. I hope you enjoy the rest of this report as I get to it also. I am actually on another trip in the Pacific Northwest of the United States at the moment, but will continue with this one when I get back home.
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:19 PM   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMead11 View Post

Here I was, June 6, 2013, I was at the American cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, France. Could things be any better for me today? I think not. I usually like to visit these places when there is no one around, when I can have it all to myself and experience a truly peaceful time there, I do not know how to explain it. I usually am the only one there when I go to such a place. Today was to be different, the place was, of course, packed with people who had come to pay the respects and remember the fallen. It offered a different kind of photographic opportunity. A different kind of feel. Going to these places can be an emotional experience and I hope the pics share that feeling just a bit for those that get to see them.
I know very well this place for having been there at least a dozen times, mostly for my job besides (I didn't tell you yet that I'm a tourism bus driver). Sure june 6th is a special day to visit the Colleville cemetery, but you can be sure that the rest of the year you could never find yourself alone in this place like you use to be in other memorials.
Colleville is located exactly above Omaha beach, which is a very famous place, due to some movies, and the fact that WWII is closer from us than WWI. Maybe that's the reason why it's so visited nowadays. And if you have seen the size of the bus parking lot, (I don't know how many bays there are), you can guess how visited it is.
Normandy is tapping an opportunity about debarkation day, and it's going on with the building of that new museum you were talking about upper, and I think it's the best way to never forget all these heroes who gave their lives to liberate Europe.
Did you know all the land around the cemetery was given by France to the USA, so as to allow all these heroes to rest in US land. It was the least we could, such a sacrifice can never be repaid (as written upper in the stone).

I hope you also went to visit the paratroopers museum in Sainte Mere Eglise, wich is my favourite museum about the debarkation (maybe because I'm a former french Air Force paratrooper too, I can guess what these guy can have felt on that day.)

I'm dying to read the following.

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Old 03-18-2014, 11:10 PM   #105
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I have been to that airborne museum in Saint Mere Eglise, and you will see Saint Mere Eglise in this report soon, but I do not go into that museum this trip. I was in there in 2005, and once before that.....but you will see other things that maybe you will think amazing too.....in Picauville.....soon to come....

I am very familiar with being alone in these places too. I been to many of them.....Aisne Marne, Oise Aisne, Ardennes, Suresenes, Somme, Epinal for the first time this trip too.....and you can be there usually all alone. They often do not get the attention that they should perhaps.....but you will see more of that coming up also.
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